Wolverhampton has fair claim on city of culture award

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I’ve noticed that Wolverhampton hasn’t been entered the bid to be named City of Culture 2021 and it leads me to ask, why not?

I would also like to note that a few weeks ago we were in a list that had Wolverhampton listed as having the least happy citizens of the UK. This list is assembled by wiseacres who are narrow-minded, and whose opinions are not consolidated by solid facts, the usual then.

To be considered, the location has to have an assorted heritage. This quality, the city of Wolverhampton has in plenty, in addition to its celebrated industrial prowess. Many famed people were born here or resided here for several years of their lives.

I list just a few here; Judith Keppel, ‘Egghead’ and first individual to win a million pounds on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, born in Wolverhampton. Kevin Darley, champion flat race jockey; Nigel Slater, TV cook with his own programmes; Roger Squires, the Guinness Book of Records most prolific crossword compiler in the world, and a new addition to the Magic Circle, also an actor on TV; Beverley Knight, top West End vocalist.

They were all born here, then there are eminent individuals who moved here, lived and worked here. John Masefield, poet laureate, lived here for several years in Tettenhall Road and worked at a nearby brewery. Sir Rowland Hill invented the postage stamp and worked and lived for many years in Horsehills Drive, Compton.Murray Walker, F1 car racing reporter, resided here as a youngster; Laurence of Arabia, lived at Fallings Park, worked at Guy Motors; Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, the first England women’s cricket captain, and brought women’s cricket forward in quick fashion, attended the local Girls’ High School.

Eric Idle, famous for being a Monty Python member, went to Wolverhampton Royal School; Mervyn King, Governor of Bank of England, attended Wolverhampton Grammar. Caitlin Moran, from an early age was ‘raised by wolves’. Boris Johnson started his working life as a junior reporter at the Express & Star, living and working around Wolverhampton and famously went on to become the Lord Mayor of London. Some other famous people regularly visited Wolverhampton as you all know. Sir Edward Elgar was an enthusiastic Wolves fan, who wrote the first-ever football anthem about his favourite team. Charles Dickens always popped in when staying with his grandmother who worked at nearby Tong Castle.

In St John’s Square, just a little way up Snow Hill, are the British headquarters of Mensa, the establishment that has the highest IQ people in the country eager to be good enough to pass their test and join the super intellectuals’ club (I don’t think I will try for it this year). Wolverhampton Polytechnic, now University of Wolverhampton, had the world’s first unique digital computer to impart computing in 1957 awarded to it from Harwell. So, why not go for one more award – City of Culture.

Mr G Griffiths, Bilbrook



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